Updated: Feb 10, 2022
equality factor: rare female representative of the electronic music scene, reinvented!
label: Annie Melody (self-released)
based in: Bergen, Norway
Trondheim-born singer-songwriter, producer and DJ Anne Lilia Berge Strand, better known as Annie, landed her first underground success in 1999, with the release of "Greatest Hit". Today, she released her first studio album in over a decade: "Dark Hearts".
The captivating electronic music artist from Scandinavia's club scene, often called Anniemal, released two studio albums in the 2000s, and then took a break from releasing full-length projects for eleven years. Over the years, she always maintained an ambivalent position between an underground and well-known artist within the European electronic scene. Today, Annie's 54 minute-long album, described by herself as "the soundtrack to a film that does not exist" saw the light of day. On its atmospheric set of 13 tracks, Dark Hearts provides an intoxicating mix of atmospherically nostalgic electronica and soft pop vocals, drawing inspiration from films like David Cronenberg’s Crash and Steve De Jarnatt’s Miracle Mile.
“To me, this is a very grown-up record,” Annie says. “Before, I was always looking forward, but when you’re now very much in the middle of your life, you’re looking back too."
From ecstasy to melancholy
Between the electrifying crowds of Annie's 90's club experience and the cinematic storytelling drama of Dark Hearts, we find a reflective, daydreaming artist. Annie might not be producing club bangers in 2020, but she takes listeners on a trip nonetheless.
Sonically, the album brings excellent soundscapes that would fit the cinematic universe of 80s love drama ("The Streets Where I Belong") just as well as an epic showdown in Netflix' Stranger Things ("American Cars"). Annie's vocals are soft, dripping across the spacious synths and sci-fi beats that slowly send you into sleep before doomsday. Annie's voice reminisces of the fellow creator of soundtracks, Skylar Grey, and at times even Lily Allen - they certainly share their talent for delivering dark lyrics with a sugarcoated sweet voice.
“I’m not hoping for it to be in charts or anything like that. I just want people to listen to it in five years and think it’s still interesting. I just want this record to stay with people, really. For it to have a long life.”
A soundtrack for sleepless nights
Between the memories of young lost love and its bittersweet reminders ("The Streets Where I Belong") and ironic apocalyptic fantasies ("The Countdown To The End Of The World"), Dark Hearts may not be a dancefloor-filling record, but it still leaves a mark on its listener. Those with heavy hearts and a thing for cinematic drama will choose Annie's work as the soundtrack to their insomnia or perhaps slip into sleep to the soothing sounds of her voice.
All in all, this album shows an Annie that has grown, changed, and evolved. At the age of 42, she does not embody the electrifying essence of "Anniemal" anymore, but she has lost none of her production skills along the way.